We all know that exercise does the body good. However, you might want to reconsider if you’re too stressed and busy to fit it into your routine.
Everyone should incorporate exercise into their stress management plan. That’s because virtually any form of exercise can relieve stress. Staying active can help increase endorphins, our “feel-good” hormones. Additionally, you’ll keep your mind off of worries and stress while exercising. Whether aerobics or yoga, exercise can be a natural stress management tool.
Exercise for Your Mental Health
Exercise helps increase your overall wellness and can give you more energy. It also has stress-reducing and other mental health benefits.
Exercising Releases Endorphins
Any physical activity that gets you sweating and pumping blood will release endorphins. These are the feel-good neurotransmitters in your brain. If you’ve heard about the “runner’s high,” this is the phenomenon. However, you don’t need to run to invoke endorphin release. Any aerobic activity like tennis or a challenging hike will give you that good feeling.
Exercising Reduces the Negative Effects of Stress
Not all stress is bad. When you exercise, your body imitates the effects of stress, like the flight or fight response. In turn, this helps your body and its systems work together through perceived stress. So, putting your body under stress helps you cope with stress! Exercise-induced stress is good stress. It can help elicit positive effects on your cardiovascular, digestive, and immune systems. Physical exercise helps protect your body from the harmful effects of unpleasant stress.
Exercise Is Active Meditation
Working out is also a great way to take your mind off everyday worries and tasks. It’s a safe, healthy, affordable outlet and a great way to channel your energies into something productive. As you begin to practice consistent physical activity, you will begin to feel more optimistic.
Regular exercise can also help you control your mind and stay calm when stressful situations arise. Specific sports movements and physical activity will help you stay clear and focused. For example, golfing and surfing are sports that require you to be entirely in the moment. Therefore, you need to stay calm and concentrate completely on what you’re doing. You can then apply those skills anywhere in your life and expect great results.
Exercise Will Put You in a Better Mood
Regular exercise helps increase confidence and improve your mood. People who exercise regularly feel more relaxed and experience lower rates of depression and anxiety.
A good workout will also help you get a better night’s sleep. Stress, depression, and anxiety often disrupt sleep, so hit the gym and release the pent-up tension! Staying consistent will give you a sense of empowerment over your body and your life.
Tips for Staying Consistent With Exercise
Starting an exercise routine is an integral component of a wellness-oriented lifestyle. However, it would be best if you paired exercise with good nutrition and other practices that encourage longevity for optimal results. For example, developing healthy stress management skills, practicing good sleep hygiene, and having deep social connections are other factors that can increase overall wellness.
Committing to regular exercise can help maintain consistency in other life areas. Here are a few tips to help you stick to an exercise program:
- SMART goals – try writing your goals down. You’re more likely to successfully achieve a goal if it’s Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-specific.
- Buddy system – Having a friend to hold you accountable can go a long way. Many people find it motivating to know someone is waiting for them at the park or gym. A friend, colleague, or family member can bring a new level of incentive and even friendly competition to make things more exciting!
- Change it up – If you only run every day, you will get bored with it and put the same repetitive wear and tear on your body. Try doing yoga, pilates, or other low-impact cardio exercises like rowing or biking. Yoga is a great practice to help with benefits that go beyond physical, like meditation and stress relief.
- Exercise in smaller increments – If you can’t commit to a full 45-minute workout, try breaking it up into small bursts. You can try a quick 10-minute HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workout. HIIT involves alternating high-intensity workout bursts with rest. So you might do 1 minute of 100% effort followed by 1-minute rest, and continue that for 10 minutes. Even a quick break to do a few squats and pushups will add up in the long run.
However you choose to exercise, it shouldn’t be a dreaded task. Exercising can be fun and help mitigate or prevent mental health conditions like anxiety and depression. A simple practice like walking is scientifically proven to help us become more creative and can also be very meditative. The key takeaway is that physical exercise will help you unwind and ease stress.
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